11 Weird 70s Toys: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

In the 1970s, toy companies were in a race to come up with new and exciting baubles for kids to play with. Some of the innovations were big hits, like the action figures that Star Wars made popular or the Weeble Wobbles that *still* won’t fall down. Some of the new playthings, though, were downright strange. Do you remember playing with these weird 70s toys?

Hugo: Man of a Thousand Faces

Hugo was an action figure that came with a headpiece and outfits to change his identity. Kids could choose from among ten different costumes, including cowboy, detective, pilot and construction worker. The set also included the Hugo logo for kids to put on their clothes or school supplies as they pretended to play dress-up.

Canned Beans

This toy was a can of beans with a peel-off lid. When kids opened the top, they would be greeted by an army of plastic soldiers and other assorted characters who popped out. There was also some sort of gun that could fire little pellets from inside the can, which made it feel like you were shooting cans in real life.

Super Elastic Bubble Plastic

Super Elastic Bubble Plastic was a tube of liquid that would turn into a gummy, stretchy material when kids blew on it. The toy came with plastic rings and other inflatables for kids to make their own creations – or just blow into the tube until they got dizzy…said dizziness arising from either the exertion or the toxic fumes. Or both!

Jolly Chimp

Jolly Chimp was a monkey that would clap its hands, shake his head and make all sorts of weird noises. Chief among them was the clatter from the cymbals the chimp smashed together with each movement.

Flip Wilson Doll

Flip Wilson Doll was a doll modeled after the comedian and his alter ego Geraldine Jones. On one side, the doll was Geraldine. Flip could be found on the other side, but kids soon discovered that if they switched him back and forth from one end to the other – or just turned his head around at every opportunity- all sorts of weird sounds would emerge from inside the toy’s body. A pull string allowed them to make the doll talk.

Pulsar: The Ultimate Man of Adventure

He looked like a normal action hero until you took off his shirt and discovered he had no skin. Pulsar was the first doll to come with a removable outer layer of clothing that revealed his plastic, anatomically correct insides.

Grampa Doll

A companion to the Gramma Doll, the Grampa Doll was a soft, all-cloth doll representing a soft, all-creep middle aged man with an even creepier smile.

Canned Beans Dolls

The Canned Beans Dolls were a set of dolls that came in their own can, like real beans. The doll’s faces and clothes could be changed by removing them from the metal cans they originally shipped inside.

J.J. Armes

A weird 70s toy, the J.J. Armes is a fake arm with knives for fingers that you can make stab things (or people). Once it was in stores, kids weren’t playing with them as expected and they were pulled from shelves before too long.

The Sunshine Family

Full disclosure: I loved the Sunshine Family and their quirky settings back in the ’70s. But take a good, hard look at these things now, and they’re just really weird. The big eyes, the hippie commune buildings, the placid and unmoving faces…all of it.

Playskool McDonald’s Playset

This was a plastic miniature replica of a McDonald’s restaurant that let you pretend you were … working at a fast food joint. This fun toy wasn’t so much weird as it was creepy corporate propaganda reaching way out to the playgrounds and bedrooms of American kids. You have to wonder how many McDonald’s workers of the ’80s and ’90s got their start with this puppy.

(If you like weird 70s toys, then you might like our article on weird 80s toys right here.)

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